The next ‘big one’ might not come from the San Andreas

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Damage from the 9.0 magnitude Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011.
Damage from the 9.0 magnitude Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011.

The next mega-earthquake to shake the continental U.S. might not be the San Andreas Fault in California, but from a far more dangerous fault farther north.

The Cascadia subduction zone, which runs from Northern California to British Columbia, could deliver a temblor 30 times stronger than the San Andreas.

Scientists claim the Cascadia fault could deliver a 9.0-magnitude quake with shaking lasting from three to five minutes followed by a devastating tsunami, similar to what happened in Japan in March 2011.

 

“This would be like five or six Katrinas all at once, up and down from California to Canada, would be the closest thing I can think of,” Oregon State University paleo-seismologist Chris Goldfinger told CBS News.

Seismologists say it’s a question of when – not if – the devastating earthquake strikes. The last mega-quake occurred in 1700.


“We’re not completely unprepared, but we’re pretty darn close,” Goldfinger told CBS.

Read more about the Cascadia subduction zone at CBS News.com.

 

Protecting yourself and your property from a earthquake is important. For hazard specific how to guides visit Ready.gov to learn more.